There’s snow place like gnome

Designed by Shell North

For my last blog I’m reminiscing from 4 years ago when I made my first ever Powertex Gnome ‘Amon the Shaman’. He was inspired by a supposed origins story of Santa, collecting Fly agaric, flying with his reindeer and delivering presents.

My original Powertex gnome seems to have inspired a flourish of gnome making. They are one of my most requested items to make in my workshop schedules. So I decided this, my last article of the year would be dedicated to them.

Powertex gnome by Shell North
‘Amon the Shaman’ First Powertex gnome by Shell North inspired by the legends.

So the legend as I heard it…

*Take this tale as you please, a bit of fun or maybe something to make you think…*

The image as we know

Long before the early 20th century Coca Cola adverts, Santa was commonly depicted as more of a gnome-like little man.

Gnome Santa

As old as tales

The origins of Santa’s style, and his bag of goodies, flying reindeer, entering through a chimney to deliver gifts, Pine tree’s may link way back to the ancestral traditions of a number of indigenous arctic circle dwellers. (He may well have come from the North Pole after all!)

On the run up to solstice the village shaman would go out to gather mushrooms, they would wear a mainly red outfit with either white trim or white dots, in honor of the mushroom’s colors.

The eve of festivities

On the eve of the Winter Solstice the shaman of the village would gather Fly agaric mushrooms. They would use them to travel on a spiritual journey to the (pine) tree of life. The tree of life located by the North Star held the answer to solve all the village’s problems for the coming year.

The Shamans would feed the Fly agaric to reindeer, their digestive systems can filter out most of the toxins. This makes (dare I say it) their bodily excretion safe for humans to drink.

*Warning* Fly agaric mushrooms are seriously toxic for humans to consume. So I am in no way promoting it! Maybe this is where the saying don’t eat yellow snow comes from?!

Solstice celebrations

The legend says that the shaman and reindeer would journey (fly) to the tree by the north star to retrieve the gifts of knowledge. These gifts would then be taken back to distribute to the rest of the village.

Returning home to the village yurt, for solstice. He would enter through the hole in the roof. The hole acted as a chimney with a central pole that held the yurt up over the fireplace. In gratitude for these gifts they would decorate Pine trees with offerings.

So that’s it, the story I’d heard that inspired my original gnome creation

Modern celebrations

It seems that maybe some of these traditions were carried down to the European pagans, taking on elements originating much farther north. Inevitably different cultures influenced one another due to migration and intermarriage, becoming merged with many other cultural traditions that we celebrate differently from one another today.

However you celebrate at this time of year, give thanks for any gifts, kind/wise words. Share precious times with your loved ones, and in your community (never let anyone go lonely). look towards the New year and the light that builds ever brighter from now until summer.

More about gnomes

Of course after my first gnome I loved making them, you can make them for any time of year. Here are a few of my gnomes that have developed over the years

Powertex gnomes by Shell North
Gnomes from top right to left: Amon the Shaman, Dumbledor, Norma,
Bottom right to left: Oakley, Noel, Nose-stradamus.
By Shell North
Powertex gnome by Shell North
‘Nose-stradamus’ the gnome.
My latest up graded gnome with new nose design made from Powertex stone art clay
– He predicts gnome domination 🙂

If you fancy making one of these little guys with me, my next gnome workshop is Feb 1st, find more info here.

Well that’s all from me, thank you for taking the time to read my blogs this year.

I hope you all have many festive blessings.

Peace, love and cheeky gnomes,

Shell x

Nature inspired Powertex painting

By Shell North

For this article I was asked to talk about my favorite artist. I have lots of things around me like nature that inspire me but rarely a well known artist.

I was inspired to push my Powertex canvas work further a couple of years ago by fellow Powertex tutor and artist Rosie Casselden. This was my first piece with Rosie in her studio with a little guidance.

I had never braved painting detail before so it was a big thing to me, but wow did it opened doors to floods of ideas. So I would say Rosie is definitely a favorite artist of mine that inspires me.

Powertex nature painting art by Shell North
‘Natures strength’ (spring edition) Powertex mixed media canvas by Shell North

I started painting fauna and flora but with a mixed media twist, using textures and random items such as shirts.

Powertex painting mixed media canvas by Shell North inspired by nature
‘The Dandy-lion’ Powertex mixed media canvas by Shell North

Upon sharing this to the Powertex studio group there was a comment “Elfie Cella does some amazingly inspirational work”. She does some textural nature art using textiles and everyday objects. Here is some of her work, which has become my inspiration.

How to make a nature inspired Powertex painting

Materials list

Step 1

Plan your scene, starting by draw a den around where the foxes go and adding a grass line, tree and moon out line. Add X’s where the very high textured area will be.

Draw out the scene fro your nature painting

Step 2

Paint around your napkin image with a paint brush and water and then tear away the excess napkin, remove top layer.

Step 3

Coat the fox den with a layer of Easy coat. Carefully place napkin image on top then coat another layer working from the middle outwards. Once dry add another coat.

Coat nature napkin scene with Easy Coat Mat

Step 4

Paint the areas that require texture thickly with Transparent Powertex, sprinkle with art balls, stone art powder and 3D flex and add fabric with Transparent Powertex.

Finally sprinkle stone art along higher ground.

Tip: Dust off any loose bits when dry. Also note that you don’t want balls in the higher ground area as it will make harder to paint any roots later.

Add textures with Powertex

Step 5

Spray all the texture with Brown and Black bister, avoiding the foxes. Dry with hair dryer.

Step 6

Using Paynes grey acrylic paint and a little water on your wash brush, paint the night sky, avoid the tree and moon. While wet, dab with a scrunched piece of tissue roll and leave to dry.

Step 7

Using a mix of different shades of white and paynes grey, create moon shades by stippling. Add very watery white around the moon for its aura. Finally using a fan brush flick white over the sky for stars.

Paint the sky with acrylics for this nature inspired painting

Step 8

Use the pre-made brown stone art clay, sculpt around the tree outline, paint the thinner branches with brown acrylic.

Use clay to create a tree on the canvas for a nature Powertex painting

Step 9

Now add all the detail such as grass in shades of green and yellow, roots shades of browns and white mixed, branches and bark in shades of browns.

To finish dry brush the dirt textured area with various shades of light brown to off white acrylic paint.

So here’s the finished piece….

Shell North nature Powertex painting on canvas
Sleeping fox cubs by moonlight’ Powertex mixed media canvas By Shell North

I hope I’ve inspired you to push your canvas work in a different direction. If you would like to have a go at this or something similar you can contact me on my website at The Crafty Little Corner or take a look at my other design team projects.

Well that’s all from me this month, see you again in the days running up to Christmas for my last blog of the year!

Peace, love and cosy fox cub cuddles

Shell x